TOWER OF SILVER

The Torre de la Plata is located in what is now Santander street, and was originally linked to the Torre del Oro by a stretch of wall, most of which has now disappeared. Both were probably built at the same time, in the Almohad period, around 1220. They were part of the defensive complex to the south of the city, the port and the surroundings of the Alcázar, together with other towers such as that of Abdelaziz, which is still preserved on Constitution Avenue.

It has an octagonal plan and is simpler than the Gold in its structure and decoration, although in all probability they were built at approximately the same time. What does seem probable is that it already grew in Christian times, in the time of Alfonso X, during the second half of the 13th century. We know that in Christian times it was also called Torre de los Azacanes. Azacán is a word of Arabic origin that designated those who were dedicated to carrying water using animals. It is probable that he habitually entered the city through the shutter that was next to this tower and that is where the name comes from.

Next to the tower, a fragment of the wall of about 80 meters is preserved, which adopts an 'L' shape to enter the spaces historically occupied by the dependencies of the Casa de la Moneda.

In Detail → GOLD AND SILVER TOWERS

TOWER OF GOLD

The Torre del Oro is the most famous of those that have survived from the walled enclosure of Seville. It was built in the Almohad period, between 1220 and 1221 and apparently owes its name to the golden effects produced by its color when reflected in the river, the result of the lime and straw mortar with which it was originally completely covered.

Archaeological studies suggest that only the first body of the tower, whose plan is a twelve-sided polygon, corresponds to the initial Almohad phase. Its upper part is crossed by a frieze with paired windows, today blinded, framed by pointed horseshoe arches, supported on brick pilasters.

It is probable that the series of battlements that finish off this body are already from the Christian period, probably from the reign of Alfonso X el Sabio. There are also doubts about the chronology of the second body of the tower, although in general its construction tends to be attributed to the reign of Pedro I, already in the 14th century. It is documented that this body had a direct access from the Alcázar through the upper part of the wall, without having to go down to the street. Apparently, King Pedro made use of this circumstance to use the Torre del Oro as a setting for his meetings with one of his lovers. Given this use that we know of, it is likely that he himself ordered the construction of this second level.

In Detail → GOLD AND SILVER TOWERS

WALL OF THE PASEO CATALINA DE RIBERA (CONTEMPORARY)

As part of the urban redevelopment works in this sector of the city, undertaken at the beginning of the 20th century, this wall or fence was built to separate the gardens of the Alcázar from the Paseo de Catalina de Ribera and the Jardines de Murillo. It is almost 400 meters long and is made in the historicist style that was so popular at the time. In fact, it is a crenellated wall, despite the fact that it does not have any defensive purpose.

Also historicist and with a certain monumentality are the two portals that are located at both ends of the Paseo, which today serve as auxiliary accesses to the gardens of the Alcázar.

GATE OF THE WATER

Also called Postigo del Alcázar or Postigo de la Huerta del Retiro. It is a small door in the wall, one of the few that have been preserved from the medieval layout in Seville. It was erected in the Almohad period, between the 12th and 13th centuries, remodeling an original tower gate from the Caliphate period. Apparently, it was the door used by the emirs to leave the city towards the rural area of La Buhaira.

WALL IN THE CALLEJÓN DEL AGUA

The beautiful Callejón del Agua in the Barrio de Santa Cruz runs alongside a stretch of wall about 140 meters long. It is original from the 12th century, built using mud walls and today it appears much lower than it originally was due to the elevation in ground level.

Three rectangular towers have been preserved in this section. Next to the one closest to the Plaza de Alfaro, you can see the ends of the two large clay pipes that run along the wall in this section. Originally they were conceived to conduct water from the Puerta de Carmona to the gardens of the Alcázar. The water came to this door from some sources in Alcalá de Guadaira through an aqueduct known as the Caños de Carmona, of which some scattered fragments have been preserved on Luis Montoto street and on Avenida de Andalucía.

WALLS IN JARDINES DE MURILLO

Next to the Murillo gardens, several sections of the wall have been preserved, interrupted by the openings opened at the beginning of the 20th century to connect the Santa Cruz and Alfaro squares with the gardens. In total there are about 50 meters of wall, of which the crenellations have not been preserved.

These fragments are dated from the 12th century and were built with mud and brick. Three rectangular towers have also been preserved. Of one of them, the closest to the Plaza de Refinadores, only the first solid body has been preserved. The other two, on both sides of Nicolás Antonio street, have been highly modified on their upper floors, reused for residential purposes.

The preserved towers have a rectangular floor plan and are separated by about 45 meters. Like those preserved in the Macarena, they are solid up to the height of the parapet, while they present a vaulted space on the top floor from which the roof is accessed.

WALLS IN JARDINES DEL VALLE

This 'L'-shaped fragment, about 250 meters long, is the largest piece of medieval wall preserved in the city, after the Macarena walls. Its construction dates back to the Almoravid period, within the reform works of the walled enclosure that took place around 1133.

They are built in mud, are crenellated and have a width of the walls of about two meters. In this case, the barbican has not been preserved and the height is less than the original, since the ground level has risen with respect to the 12th century.

The preserved towers have a rectangular floor plan and are separated by about 45 meters. Like those preserved in the Macarena, they are solid up to the height of the parapet, while they present a vaulted space on the top floor from which the roof is accessed.

GATE OF CORDOBA

In almost all of the works that have described Seville since the 16th century, they speak of its “Roman” walls. Official historiography did not hesitate to trace its origin back to the times of Julius Caesar, as reflected in the founding legend of the city that appeared inscribed on a plaque at the Puerta de Jerez: "Hercules founded me, Julius Caesar surrounded me with walls and high towers. In fact, until just a few decades ago, the guides continued to allude to the Roman origin of the Seville fence.

Thus, they were endowed with much more antiquity, within the tendency to extol the Roman past as the main cultural substratum over the Islamic contribution.

It is true that Seville had some Roman walls that have been verified archaeologically, but they enclosed a much smaller space that was limited to an area that extended approximately between Martín Villa, Laraña and Imagen streets, to the north, and the area from the cathedral and the fortress, to the south. The wall that reached contemporary times is the one built by the Almohads in the 12th century, although there are authors who trace its origins back a few decades and attribute them to the Almoravids.

They built an enormous wall marked out by towers of more than 7 kilometers in length, which closed off a space of 273 hectares. The dimensions were so enormous that the intramural area was not filled by the city until centuries later. The few canvases that have come down to us belonged to these walls: the one that develops between the Macarena arch and the Puerta de Córdoba, the one in the Valle gardens and the one that runs along Calle del Agua to the Alcázar in the neighborhood of Santa Cruz. In addition, there are many other fragments masked among the current buildings in various parts of the city.

We know the location of many of the entrances that the Almohad walled enclosure had. In the Puerta de la Macarena there was the bab Maqarana, in the one in Córdoba the bab Qurtuba, at the end of Sol street the bab al-Sams, in Puerta Jerez the bab Saris and possibly in the postigo del Aceite the bab Zayt. In addition, we know that there were other entrances whose names are not clear, such as those of Puerta Osario, Puerta de la Carne or Puerta de Triana, which is said to be the most beautiful of all the Muslim fences.

Of all of them, only the Aceite shutter and the Macarena and Córdoba gates have survived to us, although in a very partial way. Most of the walls and their gates were demolished in the second half of the 19th century, especially during the Democratic Six-year period, between 1868 and 1874. The reasons given were mainly urban. It was believed that the walls restricted Seville in some way and made its expansion impossible following modern and rational criteria.

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There was a prevailing current of thought that identified the permanence of walled enclosures in Spanish cities with the decadence and lack of progress that they wanted to overcome. In a very beautiful way, Bécquer shares this feeling in some verses dedicated to Ávila in 1864:

Almost lost in the twilight mist and enclosed within its jagged walls, the ancient city, homeland of Santa Teresa, Ávila, the one with the dark, narrow and crooked streets, the one with the dust-covered balconies, the corners with altarpieces and the eaves. outgoing There is the population, today as in the 16th century, silent and stagnant.

The fact that the walls were almost complete until such recent times makes it possible for there to be numerous engravings, paintings, drawings and even photographs of its main entrances. However, it must be said that the doors that appear in these images do not correspond to the original ones of the Almohad fence, but rather belong to the reconstructions carried out from the 16th century, therefore they present a stylistic variety that ranges between Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassicism according to their chronology.

This is the case of the Macarena arch, which only shares its location with the Almoha door, since as we see it today it is the result of an 18th century work, when it was completely redone.

The reason why the Almohad entrances were replaced by others made after the arrival of the Christians has to do above all with issues of transit. The Muslim entrances were layered to allow their defense in a more effective way. That is to say, they were made up of several doors arranged at an angle forming turns that made them more difficult to attack. When the Christian conquest of the Peninsula was consolidated, this reinforced security became unnecessary and also caused bottleneck problems in the entry and exit of people and merchandise, especially as the use of horse-drawn carriages spread. Thus, the authorities successively undertook to replace the original entrances with others that were simpler in structure, with a large central opening open on both sides through which it was much easier to navigate.

The only entrance from which we can still see something of its original Almohad traces is the Puerta de Córdoba. As it has come down to us, it is a robust rectangular tower with two horseshoe-arched doors open on two sides, forming a 90º angle. This body would originally be inscribed in a larger fortified space, which had a third door open to the outside and now disappeared. If attacking theorists managed to get past this third gate, they still had two more to break down, while the city's defenders could harass them from the top of the walls.

The fact that it is the only preserved door is not the result of chance. Since the Middle Ages, the legend had spread that this was the place where the Visigothic prince Hermenegildo was imprisoned, after having revolted against his father Leovigildo, proclaiming himself king. Hermenegildo had justified his disloyalty in his conversion to Catholicism, which in theory prevented him from maintaining his fidelity to an Arian king. This circumstance would cause Hermenegildo over time to be identified by official and Catholic historiography as a precursor martyr of the catholicity of Spain. In this vein, he was canonized in 1585 and has since been considered one of the patron saints of the Hispanic Monarchy. The places related to his history or his legend became almost sacred. This explains why in the 17th century the church of San Hermenegildo, which we can see today, was built next to the door.

Although incomplete, this meant that the gate was saved from the great destruction of the wall in the 19th century and has come down to us, at least partially. Seville's taste for legends, which inhabit each of the corners of this city, served in this case so that today we can contemplate a beautiful testimony of the monumental walls of Isbiliya from the 12th century.

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WHITE TOWER

It is a tower inserted in the northern section of the city walls, very close to the Puerta de la Macarena. It is made of mud and brick, with an irregular octagonal plan. It is two stories high, both vaulted. when losing

It is dated between the 12th and 13th centuries. Originally it was an Almoravid tower with a rectangular floor plan, surrounded by the new, larger tower with an octagonal floor plan in the Almohad period.

Losing its defensive use, it was frequently used as a place of refuge for the homeless. It has also housed numerous legends and fantastic stories, such as those of the goblins Rascarrabia and Narilargo, or that of Tía Tomasa. It is said of the latter that she was an old woman who lived in the tower at the end of the 19th century. It was said of her that she kidnapped children and locked them in the tower. In fact, the tower came to be known as 'aunt Tomasa's tower'.

WALLS OF THE MACARENA

The Macarena walls are the fragment of walls that has been preserved in the northern end of the historic center of Seville, between the Puerta de Córdoba and Puerta de la Macarena. They are about half a kilometer long, making up the largest and best-preserved fragment of the wall that we can see in Seville.

This section of walls was built between the 12th and 13th centuries. It is probably an initial Almoravid construction, reformed and enlarged during the Almohad period.

It is a crenellated wall. Even today we can see the barbican in most of its layout, running parallel to the wall about three meters away.

A series of seven towers have also been preserved, separated from each other by sections of about 40 m of wall. They are solid for the most part, up to the coastal path, which passes through them. At the highest level they have a vaulted space from which the roof was accessed by a staircase.

Next to the towers, a large polygonal tower known as the White Tower has been preserved.